Increasing equity and opportunity in contracting practices
To realize our vision of clean, affordable energy for everyone, Energy Trust has a responsibility to advance equity not only in how it serves customers, but also in how it invests resources. To secure the many goods and services needed to build a clean energy future, we use a competitive solicitation process to ensure a fair selection of firms that offer the greatest value for utility customers.
Starting in 2022, we updated our contracting requirements and practices to be more equitable and expand opportunities for the talented suppliers, industry experts and service providers delivering services to Oregonians. Our goal is to increase the number of businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color and women that receive and participate in contracting opportunities with Energy Trust.
For all large contracts — over $100,000 — Energy Trust requires applicants to either be certified as Minority Business Enterprise, Women Business Enterprise, Emerging Small Business Enterprise or Service-Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise under Oregon’s Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) or to demonstrate how they will spend at least 20% of the contract amount with firms certified by COBID. This requirement increases the number of COBID-certified businesses working with Energy Trust — in doing so, these businesses gain experience in the clean energy industry and build capacity that can help secure larger contracts in the future.
For all contracts, we actively promote opportunities to diverse suppliers, encourage them to participate and offer chances to connect with one another. For example, we are doing this by hosting orientations with new and existing contractors to learn about contracting opportunities. On our website, companies can sign up to be notified about future contracting opportunities.
In addition to supporting the businesses themselves, working with COBID-certified businesses improves Energy Trust’s ability to reach customers it has historically underserved. As Executive Director Michael Colgrove explains, “by operating within the communities we wish to serve, these firms offer valuable perspective on how to build awareness and trust in an authentic way. To accomplish our goals, Energy Trust needs to become more intentional in creating opportunities for them to work with us.”